The Written: #bookreview

The Written by Ben Galley is about mages and dragons, mystery and secrets, friendship and betrayal.

The main character, Farden, is a specific type of mage called The Written. The Written have magical tattoos placed on their body that tell a story. If someone reads their tattoo, it could possibly be detrimental to their health. They have to follow certain rules – no romantic relationships, no children. Apparently, they are magical priests.

The Write Reads group asked people if anyone wanted to participate in a Ben Galley blog tour. So I joined this blog tour and chose the book based on the description.

I really enjoyed the quest that Farden went on to discover the truth about a stolen book and the murders of mages.

There are also characters that add something special to the story. One of his closest friends, Durnus, is a vampire. Farden is tasked with making peace with the dragons. There’s also a hydra in the mix. No unicorns or centaurs in this story.

The only thing that I did not like was Farden’s name. Farden doesn’t sound like it matches the character. The named used to refer to a travelling warrior or mercenary, which is fitting.

Anyone who likes magical adventures and dragons will love this book.

Ben Galley website

Ben Galley on Facebook

Sleep Deprived Music Review: Outer Spaces

Outer Spaces

Indie pop band Outer Spaces has a new album, Gazing Globe, out this week.

The album feels fairly relaxed – not so relaxed that anyone will fall asleep. The kind of relaxed that I feel in the garden, where there is so much possibility. The songwriter, Cara Beth Satalino gives the impression that there is possibility, like the world is your garden.

Gazing Globe reminds me of early REM. So Outer Spaces could achieve legendary status someday. My favorite song on this album is “I Slowly Close My Eyes.”

This would be a good album for gardening. I think I will listen to it while trying to deal with my overabundance of tomato plants. It might help me to relax.

Outer Spaces on bandcamp

Interview with . . . Ben Galley

In hindsight, I should have had my youngest kid ask the questions for an interview with Ben Galley. They are both interested in dragons and fantasy novels to a greater extent than most people. I didn’t ask one question about dragons. Shameful.

However, you will discover some interesting things about Ben Galley in the following interview.

What was the first thing that you wrote?

The first thing I ever wrote was a terrible, hand-drawn comic I wrote when I was about six or seven. After that, I decided to try a novel, and finished that before I hit my teens. It was called The Kanandapur Gang – a story featuring anthropomorphised monkeys in a medieval, magical society in southern India. It, nor its sequel, will never see the light of day, but those books gave me a solid foundation for future projects.

Are you a boxing fan?

I don’t follow the sport, but do enjoy it when I catch it. I admire the dedication it takes, as well as the strength, mental aptitude and tenacity. I occasionally box whenever I get the chance, more for fitness than anything else.

Do you have a favorite superhero? Favorite villain?

I have both! If I were to pick my favourite superhero, it would be a tough choice between Iron Man or Doctor Manhattan. As for villain, the Joker for complexity of character, or Carnage, for absolute… well, carnage.

Do audiobooks count as reading?

I’d say so. As audiobooks are derived from the written word, you’re still absorbing the same prose, just in a different medium. Audiobooks are also great for readers who have trouble with text, so I’m a big fan of the rise of the audiobook.

Has it been a smooth transition from living in England to living in Canada?

It’s been a lot smoother than I was expecting. It’s not a huge culture shock, especially seeing as I’m living in British Columbia. I still see the UK flag half a dozen times a day! The immigration side of things has been a huge amount of work, but worth it to remain in this beautiful, forward-thinking country. I’ve found that my wordcount and work ethic has also improved since moving here, and what I’ve experienced since being in Canada has given me bundles of inspiration. I’ve already got a BC-inspired series waiting to be written.

What are your feelings about hockey?

I got stuck into hockey as soon as I got here. It’s brutal, fast and exciting, and I’ve enjoyed learning the rules and teams. I wouldn’t say I’m an aficionado by any means, but I’m becoming more and more of a fan with every season.

Will the anthropomorphic monkeys ever make an appearance in your novels?

Perhaps one day, there might be a little nod to Kanandapur in my books. Perhaps a race of primate-human hybrids smuggled in somewhere. For now, they’re staying firmly on my hard-drive.

What music are you listening to right now?

Right now, I’m channeling some Picturesque, a band I’ve recently got into.

What do you want people to know about Ben Galley?

Aside from the fact you can get the first book in each of my series for 99c at the moment, I can be found in all the usual places! I’ve got vlogs and info over at my site www.bengalley.com, or I’m usually getting up to mischief on Twitter @BenGalley or Facebook @BenGalleyAuthor.

116 Days of Summer Guests: Ashley Delima

Like” Me or Not, I’m Still Here 

Growing up in a very digital age has been full of challenges for my generation and me. In a word where the perception of perfection is life’s goal, where could I fit in? I myself have fallen into the trap of Instagram and keeping up appearances or even obsessively caring what others will think or say about me based on what I post online or how I look. It took me a while (years) to actually realize that the problem wasn’t mine alone. It was what society has implanted in all of us. Of course we allow ourselves to be sucked into this digital world, what feels like an okay place where we can leave and not be affected by it so easily, but in reality it can truly become a never ending cycle of self torture and peer pressure. We don’t notice how much in depth we are gradually falling into this addiction of social approval and even worse – the unlimited chase for perfection. This constant chase has seeped into the music industry. I’ve been noticing how people have lowered their standards towards music and art but since it “sells” it’s acceptable. I feel deeply bothered by this and take it very personally since I feel like a lot of people in my generation haven’t been exposed to so much that’s out there. It is heart breaking to think that so many people will never know what poetic lyrics are, since they are being fed with literalism almost constantly. The magic of decorating words, letters and silence is being left behind and replaced by overly simplified sentences with no space for interpretation and imagination. It is disappointing to even say out loud that passion has turned into greed and our sense of self is now defined and distorted by numbers and status in a world that does not exist. The next generation is boarding in a universe that lets popularity, likes, comments and followers define who they are, which is far from the truth. What are they really gaining from all of this? I have never really known a world without “likes”. A world where people don’t feel pressured to look perfect and don’t feel bad if a post doesn’t have as much engagement as hoped for. I was only 12 years old when Instagram launched. I have only noticed now that everything I thought mattered, really doesn’t. Everything i used to worry about is pure bullshit. The peer pressure of worrying what people will think when creating music, art and content shouldn’t exist because whatever I’m doing is my own vision and if someone doesn’t go along with or doesn’t like it, that’s out of my control. What I have to do, just like everyone else, is focus on my path without all the external noise. What we have to do as individuals who seek to find ourselves and pave our own path, is keep our eye on the prize and believe that our power is that there is no one like us out there. I have to keep believing that I am good enough and that I still exist, whether you like me or not. 

-Ashley Delima

Spotify

Youtube

Instagram

Sleep Deprived Music Review: Divino Nino

Divino Nino
Photo Credit: Rachel Cabitt

Divino Nino will be releasing their album, Foam, on June 21. NPR is excited about this album so we probably should be too.

Honestly, the album is a little campy and dreamy but no one is complaining. When I listen to it, I envision myself going on a vacation with lots of beaches and surfboards. I don’t even own a surfboard but this album makes me believe in that vacation so much. The song that I like the best is “Melty Caramello.” It’s very dreamy and romantic -unlike an actual melty caramello.

Divino Nino is from Chicago so maybe they are dreaming about a beach vacation too. They are on tour right now so it would be possible to catch up with them and find out what their motivation was when making this album.

Anyway, check out their music tomorrow. I suggest spending the afternoon to listen to it while on your own road trip – even if it’s just an hour. It will be time well spent.

Interview with . . . Clover the Girl

Clover the Girl
Photos by Bailey Franklin 
Makeup by Stephanie Cantu

Clover the Girl has recently been signed to InVogue Records. Her EP, Even If It Hurts, will be released on July 5th. If these events are a sign, then her summer is going to be epic. Will your summer be epic if you listen to her album? Let’s just say the chances are good.

We are so excited that she agreed to do an interview. As you will see, she is delightful as well as talented.

How far would you go for beauty?

Far enough to consider actions I’ve taken to feel beautiful going “against myself”. The level of beautiful I want* to be or wish* I could be is something that’s always changing and really is a never-ending cycle if I don’t accept myself as I am.

Where was your first show as a fan? as a performer?

I was pretty sheltered when it came to secular music up until I was 13-14. My first favorite artist was John Mayer and my dad bought my brother and I tickets to his show in 2010. I found out at church. I cried. Our seats were at the very top row of American Airlines Center in Dallas but we showed up about 3,000 hours early and were gifted front row tickets by JM’s tour managers- he bought out the front row for “super fans”. True story. There are people I met at that show who have since come to my shows. Music is insane. My first show as a performer was in a little bar in Ben Wheeler, TX. I’m pretty sure a cow or goat were in the audience.

Were you in beauty pageants?

I was not! A few friends of mine were. I’m from a small town in Texas and beauty standards were definitely through the roof. School felt like a beauty pageant sometimes.

Is revenge good for anything?

Yes.. just kidding… no.. but really.

Do you prefer Gwen Stefani’s solo music or music from No Doubt?

I have been listening to No Doubt more in recent months but I have no preference. Anything that she touches is straight from another universe to me.

What do you like about your hometown?

For me, there are always new opportunities to extend tolerance and love to someone you really don’t want to. It taught me how to embrace who I am and embrace feeling different. There were also real life trolls who obsess over your life because they are bored, so I got some good practice for The Internet!

Are there any causes/organizations that you are involved with?

I am involved in Drug and Alcohol recovery organizations and mental health awareness organizations. I am very passionate about showing people that they’re not alone like someone did for me.

Does someone sing “Crimson and Clover” to you on a regular basis?

Yes and I never understood it or questioned it until this interview.

What do you want people to know about you?

I am honoring my vision the best I can and being as truthful as I can because it’s the only option I have left. My solution to anything is music and isolation and I’m so grateful to listeners for giving me this outlet and giving me a way to connect with other humans. I’ve been told my whole life that I talk too much and I have a productive place now to put all of the “it” going on in my brain thanks to you.

Find Clover the Girl’s music here.

116 Days of Summer Guests: Alone I Walk

Alone I Walk

ALONE I WALK – 116 DAYS OF SUMMER – CITY DREAMS AND COUNTRY LIVING.

For many people the thought of living the big city life is the norm, it’s where a vast majority of the population was brought up and its where many others migrate towards to build the life they chase.

On the other side of that spectrum is where we lie. The big cities we have seen over the last years of touring are incredible, but what makes them so special? Home. Home for us isn’t a loud, busy concrete jungle. In fact it’s the complete opposite, acres of lush forest in the middle of nowhere with to many animals to count is what we are accustomed to.

This is what keeps balance in life. When secluded from all the loud noises of the city, you find an organic, untapped source of energy and motivation. Negativity that is tied to the big city hustle dies at the end of the driveway. Opportunities and life as a whole seem more clear when you aren’t surrounded by the constant ringing of noisy cars and police sirens. There is a sense of true freedom out in the country. Not being confined to a  “social mold” you have full liberty to create anything you can think of, the possibilities are endless.

Now that you all know what environment we grew up and continue to grow in, having a dream of touring the world and playing music could seem pretty far fetched for a few country kids right? True.  

Fortunately enough for us we’ve had nothing but endless support from our parents to pursue our dreams of performing from a very young age. It never mattered to them what we aspired to do they would fully back us and that is something that we’ll forever be grateful for. It was also very helpful being surrounded by music at all times from a very young age, our Dad has been playing and singing in bands since i could remember. Now that we have been fortunate enough to grow as Alone I Walk, we continued to grow our support system and team as well.

We have now made friends across North America and other parts of the world and always try  host whoever we can that needs a place to stay while rolling through Winnipeg(Central Canada), in hopes everyone can leave their “headaches” at the end of the driveway and find the balance that they might need at this farm in the woods that we call home.  

Much Love

ALONE I WALK

François & Pascal

Sleep Deprived Music Review: The Sunday Sadness

It’s Sunday and there are tons of things we could be sad about but the self-titled album by The Sunday Sadness is not one of them. They released the album in February. So I’ve been listening to it every Sunday since then.

The Sunday Sadness describes themselves as dark pop. It seems pretty fitting. They aren’t exactly emo but they aren’t bubbly either. My teenagers never complain when I play this album so that is a big deal.

My personal favorite song on the album is “Lost in the Crowd.” “Sad Songs” is also pretty enjoyable if you’re into dark pop with a little bit of rap. Dark pop hip hop can be a thing I guess.

They are from France, which is where they are currently touring. Visit their website to find out where they are playing next.